Ravichandran Ashwin (second from left) will face old teammates in MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja etc © AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin (third from left) will face old (CSK) teammates in MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja etc © AFP

In Match 12 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) take on Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali. After a loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at Bengaluru, Ravichandran Ashwin-led KXIP will be eager to make amends and get their campaign back on track. It promises to be a mouth-watering clash wherein Ashwin’s previous teammates — Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni — would be his opponents. In fact, this will be Ashwin’s first IPL game with Dhoni representing the other camp. Playing against his old franchise, KXIP skipper will surely have a point to prove. Can he prevent CSK’s winning streak?

In KXIP’s last clash, versus RCB, the side got off to a flier. With KL Rahul’s ominous form, KXIP can afford to relax at the top. However, they would want more from the likes of Karun Nair, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh in the middle overs. At present, they seem a bit dependent on Rahul. Despite a loss, KXIP shouldn’t deter much with their team combination as they showed grit and determination to stretch RCB’s chase till the last over. The spin trio — Ashwin, Akshar Patel and Mujeeb Ur Rahman — would again hold center stage. In addition, Mohit Sharma and Andrew Tye’s death bowling have in it them to test CSK’s tall batting lineup.

CSK have 4 points courtesy two thrilling wins in the competition so far. However, they would be the first to admit that they have few areas to improve on. Their fielding has been ordinary, and they have been marred with injuries. Moreover, CSK showed vast improvement as a batting unit, during a successful chase versus KKR, but they still have few miles to cover in this aspect.

KXIP’s well-oiled unit can halt CSK’s momentum. The Yellow Brigade haven’t flourished collectively despite being undefeated.

Likely XIs

Kings XI Punjab

KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis/David Miller, Akshar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohit Sharma

Chennai Super Kings

Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma

Predictions

In 17 encounters overall, CSK hold edge with a 10-7 head-to-head record against KXIP. CSK even boast of a better record in Mohali. Yet, it is tough to predict a winner. While CSK are favourites, KXIP don’t seem way behind despite a defeat in their last outing. This could go down the wire. Expect a run-fest with big guns like Bravo, Jadeja, Shane Watson, Sam Billings, Yuvraj, Rahul, Finch, Marcus Stoinis etc.